Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Master advanced psychological principles to excel in your profession.

Taught by experienced scholar-practitioners, this program offers advanced academic preparation focused on research and scholarship in your chosen branch of psychology. Gain a deep knowledge of psychological principles that apply to areas such as teaching, administration, research, consultation, coaching, management, and leadership.

Outcome goals and graduates' proficiency levels

Each doctoral program and specialization is designed around expected learning outcomes (see Expected Program Outcomes below). End of program performance is determined during the comprehensive exam and dissertation process. Because the work is unique to each learner's dissertation or research topic and the criteria for evaluation are aligned to that work, we do not collect data on proficiency levels for doctoral programs.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology specializations

  • Addiction Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Quality and Professional Relevance

  • More than 1,000 colleges and universities have employed Capella learners and graduates as leaders, staff, and faculty.
  • All faculty members in Capella’s Harold Abel School of Psychology have practitioner experience in psychology or related fields.

Expected Program Outcomes for All Specializations

  1. Think critically in response to psychological challenges.
  2. Lead the profession of psychology.
  3. Perform ethically in personal and professional interactions.
  4. Respect individuality and embrace diversity.
  5. Communicate professionally in the discipline of psychology.

Doctoral degree graduates

Data from graduates across all doctoral programs have been combined for these Career Outcomes results.

Capella University doctoral graduates report satisfaction with salary, benefits, and responsibilities. Half of the graduates surveyed work in higher education and another 12 percent hold positions in the P–12 environment.

Satisfaction with Job Doctoral Degree Graduates

Percentage of respondents who answered "satisfied" or "very satisfied"
Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q2 2012 – Q1 2013.


Doctoral graduates report receiving salary increases and getting recognition from employers for their Capella degrees. Around half those surveyed have advanced in their careers and just over a third have presented at a professional conference or worked as a consultant.

Career & Professional Accomplishments Doctoral Degree Graduates

Percentage of respondents who indicated they had accomplished each item
Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q2 2012 – Q1 2013.

Doctoral degree graduates

Data from graduates across all doctoral programs have been combined for these Student Experience results.

Capella University doctoral graduates think their education meets academic program outcomes and helps them meet career goals. They are likely to recommend Capella to others.

Satisfaction with Capella Doctoral Degree Graduates

Percentage of respondents who answered affirmatively
Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q2 2012 – Q1 2013.

Our doctoral graduates report they have gained practical knowledge and expertise which are applicable in a range of professional settings.

Improvement in Skills and Abilities Doctoral Degree Graduates

Percentage of respondents who rated themselves as "proficient" or "distinguished" on ability to demonstrate the skill or ability on the job.
Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q2 2012 – Q1 2013.


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Capella believes in being clear about the real cost, time, and value of a Capella degree The Gainful Employment disclosures, required by the US Department of Education (DOE) (under 34 CFR 688.6 ), provide some information about completion, expenses and occupations based on learners who graduated between July 2012 and June 2013. Most of our students are part-time so they might not take a full course load or attend all 4 quarters each year. We took that into account in calculating these data. For example, we define program length for certificates and master's and doctoral degrees as the number of calendar quarters it takes a typical student to complete a program. The DOE has defined time to complete for a Bachelor's degree as 4 years. Program cost is based on the specific pricing structure for each program which is either a cost per credit or a cost per active quarter.

Other related information may be found on the Learning Outcomes, Career Outcomes, and Student Experience tabs on this page.

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Learn more about these values and how they are calculated»

Alumni Success Story Quote

Photo of Jesse Collins, PhD Jesse Collins, PhD

"I'm able to talk to victims of domestic violence about how to reduce their likelihood of being a victim. This is a real-world application of the Scholar-Practitioner Model and I am honored to be a part of it."

Watch Jesse's story »